What does the word Representational State Transfer (REST) mean actually ? Now I don seem to find any relation between its naming and its working, I have understood that it is a architectural style for programming web service and I've read all the hush hush stuff but can't find a reason behind its naming.

What is Representational ? Who's State? and What do we Transfer?

  • You transfer representations of the state of resources. E.g. When you ask for information about a product, you're getting a representation of it in some format such as HTML, JSON, XML, YAML, etc, not necessarily the exact rows that come out of the database (if there is one) or the product itself.
    – Doval
    May 10, 2014 at 15:36
  • looah.com/source/view/2284 May 10, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


You'll need to ask the guy who came up with the concept of REST, Roy Fielding, or read his published thesis that forms the description of REST with respect to the web.

Its probably best to start at the top and work your way through it.

What do we transfer - a representation of the resource.

In short, we don't transfer an actual object but a representation of it in some form (eg a html table to represent a database table).

A relevant quote is:

Depending on the message control data, a given representation may indicate the current state of the requested resource, the desired state for the requested resource, or the value of some other resource, such as a representation of the input data within a client's query form, or a representation of some error condition for a response. For example, remote authoring of a resource requires that the author send a representation to the server, thus establishing a value for that resource that can be retrieved by later requests.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.